Taqtile Manifest augmented reality platform to help US Army modernise motor pool operations

Mark manages all of the content for VRWorldTech. To discuss an idea or pitch a story, drop him a line at editor@vrworldtech.com

Taqtile Manifest augmented reality platform to help US Army modernise motor pool operations, Groove Science Studios unveils Artist Link for music production from home, Ecolab completes first major equipment installation with mixed reality, and Cooler Screens and Microsoft to bring immersive digital experiences to retail

Taqtile Manifest augmented reality platform to help US Army modernise motor pool operations

Taqtile is the recipient of a US Army Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 contract.

The SBIR award provides the opportunity for the Army to evaluate Taqtile’s Manifest augmented reality platform for its motor-pool personnel.

Through a series of workshops and hands-on demonstrations, the Army will evaluate Manifest’s ability to leverage the expertise of knowledgeable frontline personnel, empowering other members of the motor-pool staff to perform complex tasks more safely, efficiently and accurately.

The Army will evaluate Taqtile’s Manifest platform to address complexities, inefficiencies, and outdated paper-based processes for maintaining and repairing its extensive motor pool of military vehicles.

During the vehicle maintenance process, Army mechanics can access and follow Manifest’s spatially-anchored, step-by-step instructions with embedded multimedia content to more efficiently complete complex maintenance tasks.

Kelly Malone, chief revenue officer at Taqtile, said: “Our robust Manifest solution is designed to handle the complex procedures and equipment typical in Army motor-pool maintenance.”

“We expect Army personnel, from new recruits to seasoned mechanics and officers, to immediately recognise the benefits of Manifest, and to look for ways to deploy our platform to other locations and vehicles in the motor pool.”

Manifest can serve as a digital repository for maintenance and repair information, including video and audio ‘notes’, and related documents.

Vehicle-specific repair information can be seamlessly transferred from soldier to mechanic to clerk, reducing delays and risk of human error. Manifest can automatically upload all saved documents to a centralised maintenance queue for quick access to accurate materials.

Other branches of the US military have already experienced the benefits of using Manifest.

Taqtile recently supported a study with the Air Force Institute of Technology measuring the impact of its augmented reality platform on technician performance.

Among the confirmed benefits was a 53% reduction in errors and discrepancies among technicians using the Manifest platform.

Groove Science Studios unveils Artist Link for music production from home

Groove Science Studios (GSS) has debuted Artist Link, the start of a new era for musicians globally, unlocking the ability to easily tour from home and delivering state-of-the-art virtual reality production to audiences worldwide.

Artist Link is the latest addition to Soundscape VR, the groundbreaking platform developed by GSS to power immersive, music-based experiences.

Creator Eric Alexander said: “Artist Link represents a massive opportunity to change the way live entertainment is produced and consumed. With the capability to produce live shows directly from your home, Artist Link eliminates the need for costly infrastructure normally associated with presenting a concert experience or tour.”

Replicating the concert experience only formulates part of the foundation in Artist Link. Alexander said: “We’ve completely rethought the audience perspective. Attendees are no longer limited to just watching their favourite artist perform, now you can fly above the stage, paint the sky with light, even shoot fireworks from the tips of your fingers!”

Artist Link is the latest release from GSS, adding to a long list of achievements in the virtual reality arts space since 2014.

Marketing director Benjamin Ferguson said: “We’re very excited to cross this milestone in our development roadmap. This is the culmination of nearly seven year’s worth of work.”

“We’ve grown the platform to include five large-scale, audio-reactive worlds, a mixed reality stage that’s been featured everywhere from the playa of Burning Man to the swamps of the Hulaween music festival, and now our brand-new broadcast portal, Artist Link. This opens an entirely new frontier for artists everywhere.”

Performing in Soundscape VR is unlike anything anyone has experienced in the real world. Eliminate the laws of physics from the equation and you’ve only begun to peel back the layers of potential in this exciting new realm.

With highly detailed venues that are reactive to your presence, immersive effects that are only possible in the digital world, and the reality of experiencing it with your friends and your favourite music, regardless of location, makes Soundscape VR truly unique in its offerings for fans and creators of music.

For the world debut of Artist Link, Silica Sol (the musical alter ego of the creator of Soundscape VR) will be performing a special mix dedicated to the artists who have inspired the platform for more than seven years.

This live, mixed reality show is entirely self-produced with zero off-screen crew, highlighting the decentralised capabilities of the Soundscape VR platform.

While Artist Link is designed to be experienced with the superior technology of virtual reality, traditional streaming methods are made available for viewers who don’t have access to virtual reality equipment.

Ecolab completes its first major equipment installation with mixed reality

As Covid-19 is reducing in-person access to energy plants around the world, Ecolab is using new digital solutions to deliver its water, energy and sanitisation solutions.

Ecolab used mixed reality to guide the installation of Purate chlorine dioxide generators at multiple facilities for one of the largest independent midstream energy infrastructure companies in the US.

These installations mark Ecolab’s first use of mixed reality to install, test and deliver a chlorine dioxide generator solution for cooling tower operations at an energy plant.

Steve Kramarczyk, a corporate account manager for the global heavy division of Ecolab, said: “Due to the travel, social distancing and plant access restrictions in effect for Covid-19, a typical installation process that involves several on-site engineers was not possible for this company.”

“Still, the company wanted to realise the cost and logistics savings Purate offers, so we were able to use mixed reality to safely oversee its installation.”

By wearing a mixed reality headset, a single Ecolab field representative was able to transmit on-site visuals and critical data to a team of Ecolab engineers working remotely.

Similar to a guided space mission, the engineers, whose combined experience totaled more than 50 years, were then able to guide the representative through a variety of operations at the plant.

Kramarczyk said: “Digital technologies like mixed reality will have a transformative effect in the energy sector.”

“Not only will companies that embrace them be able to perform major equipment installations, they will be able to better assess risk, monitor their operations and improve their efficiency.”

“Ecolab has spent decades building relationships with our customers and learning about the innerworkings of their operations. It’s this intimate knowledge that enables us to leverage our digital solutions effectively for our customers.”

Cooler Screens and Microsoft to bring immersive digital experiences to retail

A newly struck multi-year collaboration between Cooler Screens and Microsoft will focus on bringing an immersive digital experience to brick-and-mortar retail environments.

Through the collaboration, Cooler Screens will work with Microsoft to scale the delivery of its immersive digital media and merchandising platform hosted on Microsoft Azure to retailers and product brands. The companies will also explore additional integration opportunities to deliver enhanced experiences to customers.

Cooler Screens’s retail technology replaces traditional cooler doors with internet of things-enabled, high-resolution smart screens, which use sensors both outside and inside of the coolers to track inventory and product placing.

The solution uses ‘identity-blind’ data from consumer interactions, combined with external data such as weather, to deliver more personalised experiences.

Greg Wasson, co-founder and chairman of Cooler Screens, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with an industry leader like Microsoft to drive innovation in retail and build the largest in-store digital media platform in the world.”

“We are changing the way consumers shop for the better, and this collaboration not only gives us the capabilities to implement our strategy but also gives us immediate massive scale.”

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, said: “Retailers today are looking to use digital technology to transform their businesses and redefine the shopping experience for customers.”

“Through the power of Microsoft Azure, companies like Cooler Screens are meeting this important need by bringing immersive digital experience to brick and mortar stores.”

Cooler Screens are currently located in more than 50 Walgreens locations. The company will expand its platform into 2,500 Walgreens stores across the US in 2021, reaching more than 75 million in-store consumers monthly, including 2.5 million on a daily basis.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “Walgreens is committed to enhancing our customer shopping experience through digital transformation, one of our key strategic priorities.”

“Pairing the Cooler Screens digital media and merchandising technology with Microsoft’s Azure platform will bring a unique and innovative offering to Walgreens customers shopping the cooler aisle.”

Brands including MillerCoors, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Chobani, Tyson Foods and Monster Energy currently advertise with Cooler Screens.

The company is working with a number of leaders in the grocery and convenience store industry, including Kroger and GetGo, to bring more contextually relevant shopping to the stores.